Ahmet F. Demirörs, Sümeyye Aykut, Sophia Ganzeboom, Yuki A. Meier, Robert Hardeman, Joost de Graaf, Arnold J. T. M. Mathijssen, Erik Poloni, Julia A. Carpenter, Caner Ünlü, Daniel Zenhäusern

Sep 16, 2021
Advanced Science

One of the major challenges in modern robotics is controlling micromanipulation by active and adaptive materials. In the respiratory system, such actuation enables pathogen clearance by means of motile cilia. While various types of artificial cilia have been engineered recently, they often involve complex manufacturing protocols and focus on transporting liquids only. Here, soft magnetic carpets are created via an easy self-assembly route based on the Rosensweig instability. These carpets can transport not only liquids but also solid objects that are larger and heavier than the artificial cilia, using a crowd-surfing effect. This amphibious transportation is locally and reconfigurably tunable by simple micromagnets or advanced programmable magnetic fields with a high degree of spatial resolution. Two surprising cargo reversal effects are identified and modeled due to collective ciliary motion and nontrivial elastohydrodynamics. While the active carpets are generally applicable to integrated control systems for transport, mixing, and sorting, these effects can also be exploited for microfluidic viscosimetry and elastometry.

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